Insulin Pump: Pros and Cons

There are diseases that, due to their pathogenetic characteristics, will never leave a person. Diabetes mellitus is one such disease. And if a person is not able to get rid of the disease itself, then you can try to alleviate his everyday difficulties that this disease created. An insulin pump for a diabetic is just an option for solving many difficulties.

An insulin pump is a medical device that is designed for continuous subcutaneous administration of insulin (for diabetes ).

The diabetes insulin pump itself consists of: the pump itself (it contains the control panel, processing module and batteries), an insulin reservoir (replaceable), an insulin injection kit (an introduction cannula, a tube system for connecting the cannula and reservoir).

How the diabetes insulin pump works

Do not be alarmed by reading the structure of the insulin pump. All this fits in sizes smaller than the average BUTTON mobile phone. Rather, it’s a pager in size (for comparison, the prototype of the current pump was rather a 8 kg shoulder bag, which was designed by Dr. Arnold Kadesh in the early 60s).

The cannula of the insulin pump is installed in the usual place for the introduction of insulin (lower abdomen, thighs, shoulders, buttocks). Where there is subcutaneous fat. With the help of programs, the rate of administration and the dose are set. Thus, the pump imitates the work of the pancreas.

Pump insulin therapy

There are two modes of insulin delivery:

  • Basic (continuous supply of a basic dose of insulin, which is administered throughout the day, except at night and with meals).
  • Bolus (an additional dose that is given for eating and for correcting glucose levels at night).

There are also separate forms of boluses. This means that the person himself influences the insulin delivery profile:

  • The standard bolus (“pointed” form) is the simultaneous administration of the entire dose of insulin.

This option is good for carbohydrate-rich foods that are low in protein and fat.

  • A square bolus (“rectangular” shape) is a slow dose of insulin.

They are used during the intake of protein and fatty foods, since the injected insulin will not give a sharp effect and will reduce the glucose level gradually. In addition, it will stretch more in time. Also, this form of bolus is used for someone with slow digestion.

  • A double bolus or multiwave – is a combination of the first two and provides a sufficiently high concentration of insulin in the first stage and stretches the introduction of the remaining amount in time in the second stage.

This option is used by those who eat foods rich in carbohydrates and fats.

Benefits and risks of using an insulin pump

In everything, as you know, there are pros and cons. An insulin pump is no exception.

Benefits of Using an Insulin Pump

  • Only very short-acting insulin is used (Apidra, NovoRapid, Humalog) and this achieves a better degree of compensation.
  • Insulin pumps help lower your daily dose of insulin by 20-30%.
  • The insulin pump delivers insulin in microdroplets, thereby ensuring the accuracy of administration. And this allows you to monitor the level of insulin in the body.
  • Due to the specifics of the pump itself (“artificial intelligence”), the vast majority of diabetes pumps are equipped with a program that helps to recount the dose of insulin administered for a meal. This takes into account the individual characteristics of the body, sensitivity to insulin at different times and the need for insulin, in accordance with the type of food that a diabetic eats.
  • From a psychological point of view, the quality of life of a diabetic improves, because he will no longer be tied to time, place.
  • A clear advantage is that now you do not need to make as many injections as when using a pen syringe.

Risks or disadvantages of using an insulin pump

In addition to the fact that the diabetes pump has a number of significant advantages, there is also its own “fly in the ointment” in this device. A few spoons.

  • The pump for diabetes should be on the patient 24 hours a day.
  • Every three days, the installation location needs to be changed.
  • If you neglect the previous (rather) rule, rather than the minus, do not follow the rules of asepsis, then infiltrate at the injection site or infectious inflammation may develop.
  • Like any electronic device, a pump for diabetics can malfunction or break down, and it, by the way, is expensive. Like supplies to her.

Insulin Pump Installation

Most often, the installation of the pump begins with the patient filling the reservoir with insulin, which was prescribed directly to him by the endocrinologist. To do this, you need to take a sterile empty tank, remove the piston from it and let air from the tank into the ampoule with insulin. After that, inject insulin into the reservoir with a piston, remove the needle and let out air bubbles. Then you can remove the piston and connect the tank to the tube system. After that, the unit is put into the pump and the tube is filled, insulin is run along the entire length of the tube (Important! In this case, the delivery system must be disconnected from the person) and then the infusion system can be connected to the cannula.

It is difficult to imagine the whole process without having the entire device in front of your eyes. But don’t worry. Every diabetic, if he uses a pump, undergoes educational program.

Insulin pump for children

It’s no secret that type I diabetes affects young people. Sometimes, very small children become patients of endocrinologists. And when the question of insulin therapy arises, parents try to do everything possible to facilitate the fate of their children. In this case, an insulin pump is an option for small diabetics. 

Since the children’s body is significantly different from the adult, the dosage of insulin administration is also different. It is clear that children need less, but to achieve the clarity of the measured dose with a conventional syringe is almost impossible. This is where the insulin pump helps out.

Of course, in the case of the use of the pump by children, there will be a little more “organizational” difficulties, but if you correctly approach the issue, teach the child to use the pump correctly, then you can significantly ease the quality of life of the child and help overcome the psychological barrier that the disease itself caused.

From personal observations

An insulin pump is a more practical option for a diabetic if the person follows the doctor’s instructions and follows all his instructions unconditionally. If he knows the basics of proper nutrition for diabetes (in addition to the state of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia may also occur. This must not be forgotten!) If he takes care of himself and the pump.

But you also need to remember that the insulin pump is, nevertheless, an electronic device. It tends to malfunction and the nuances of improper connection can also play an important role in the condition of a diabetic. Therefore, unfortunately, the pump will also have to be controlled. And how can one not mention the high cost of both the apparatus itself and the consumables.

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